On one morning in December 1984, Gloria Pointer was looking forward to going to school, more than she usually did because she was going to receive an award for maintaining perfect attendance. However, fate had something different and horrific planned for her as she was killed on her way to school. ‘Dateline NBC: A Promise to Gloria’ takes us back to that morning and documents the tragedy that transpired.
The episode also delves into the thorough investigation that followed, only to be solved and closed after three long decades, thanks to advancements in technology and a piece of biological evidence. With interviews from Gloria Pointer’s determined mother, acquaintances, as well as investigators who handled the matter, we get an in-depth look into the tragic case of the innocent 14-year-old.
How Did Gloria Pointer Die?
On February 28, 1970, a young Yvonne Pointer gave birth to a baby daughter in Cleveland, Ohio, and named her Gloria Evett Pointer. Known for her cute toothy smile, Gloria was adored and loved by her family as she lit up the room with her adorable personality. Besides being a responsible daughter, she was also a caring sister to her younger brother, with whom she grew up in a house on East 114th Street in Cleveland.
Gloria was a student at Harry E. Davis Junior High School, where she used to volunteer her mother more often than not. Whether it was picking some kids from school or baking some cookies, she always said that her mother would do it. On the academic front, she was a disciplined student who took school seriously and never took a day off. Her efforts were going to be rewarded on December 6, 1984, as she was to receive a perfect attendance award.
However, Gloria never made it to school that day. Around 8 in the morning, Yvonne received a call from the school informing her that her daughter hadn’t arrived at the school. Struck by worry and concern, Yvonne filed a missing persons report, and the authorities launched a search for the 14-year-old student, which ended when they found her, partially clothed, at the bottom of a fire escape stairwell, around 10:30 am. Upon further tests, it was discovered that the cause of death was multiple blunt trauma impacts to the victim’s upper body and head, inflicted by using a 45-inch piece of angle iron that weighed around 8 pounds.
Who Killed Gloria Pointer?
The authorities searched for evidence around the tragic crime scene and even interrogated Gloria Pointer’s loved ones and locals to get more insight into the whereabouts of the victim before she ended up there. As a result, the investigators learned that she called one of the friends, who lived on East 105th Street, early in the morning to let her know that she would stop by her place to get a comb for a new hairstyle. But when Gloria failed to show up by 7:30 am, the waiting friend left for school alone. Between 7 and 7:30 am on December 6, 1984, several locals witnessed Gloria being followed by a black man wearing a brown coat and a knit cap as she was walking on Orville Avenue.
One of the witnesses even saw the strange man grab the school-going girl’s arm, after which they disappeared near 10515 Orville Avenue. Hours later, the 14-year-old’s body was found. Unfortunately, due to a lack of evidence and technological advancement at the time, the case gradually went cold over the years, with nobody to blame for the innocent girl’s death. However, about three decades later, in 2013, when the authorities noticed some new and significant developments, the case was reopened. Thanks to a piece of DNA evidence extracted from the victim’s clothing, the investigators found the link, which led them to an already convicted rapist — Hernandez Warren.
Finally, on May 13, 2013, the police arrested Warren for the rape and murder of Gloria Pointer in 1984 at his home. At the time of the crime, he used to reside in the same neighborhood as Gloria. Prior to this charge, he had already spent a decade and a half behind bars for assault and rape during a 1985 burglary. After his arrest, Warren confessed to the crime and told the authorities that he was under the influence of drugs when he committed the gruesome act. He claimed that after sexually assaulting the 14-year-old, he was leaving the scene but noticed her following him out.
According to Warren, he then pushed Gloria down the steps and beat her with a piece of angle iron. He stated, “I killed her, but why and how, I don’t know. I was f—– up. I was f—– up.” In May 2014, just a few months before his trial, he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated murder and one count of rape in order to avoid the death penalty. Eventually, as part of the plea deal, Warren was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. Five years later, in March 2019, the perpetrator attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, only to have the request denied.
Read More: Hernandez Warren: Where is the Killer Now?